Zalman ZM-MFC2 Fan Controller

Article Index
Zalman ZM-MFC2 Fan Controller
Worlds First Look at the ZM-MFC2
Installation, Testing and Conclusion

Product: Zalman ZM-MFC2 Fan Controller
Provided By:
Zalman USA
Price: $TBA (Product Is Not Released)

Introduction:

Zalman has been making great cooling products for quite some time.  In times past, Zalman's focus was for quiet and noiseless coolers, but as computers generated more and more heat, and more aggresive cooling was required.  Zalman heat sinks now include fans, and although they are still gear toward quiet cooling, they do make some noise.  In order to minimize noise and customize performance, the use of a fan controller is required.  Many of Zalman's heat sinks for both CPU applications and GPU applications include a little fan controller - the FanMate2.  The FanMate2 controller serves the purpose of controlling the speed of the fan, but adds a bunch of wire clutter to the case and bulk to the outside of the case as the controller is to be mounted externally.  In truth, a single FanMate2 controller works alright, but if you are running multiple Zalman coolers, the FanMate2 cluster on the back of a case is quite annoying.

In one of our test setups we had used a Zalman cooler on the CPU and two other coolers on our SLI setup.  This caused a bunch of clutter and a better solution had to be found.  Years ago, Zalman released the ZM-MFC1 fan controller.  This controller supported six fans, but didn't display any information as to what you were controlling.  At CES in Las Vegas, Zalman introduced their next generation of fan controller - the ZM-MFC2.  At this point, no information is available about this product on the web, so this review is as fresh as you'll find anywhere.

Packaging:

At this point we believe that the packaging we received will be the final retail packaging.  It's not as flashy as some other products from Zalman, but it does get the job done and lets the consumer know what they are getting.

 ZM-MFC2 - Box Front
 ZM-MFC2 - Box Front

 ZM-MFC2 - Box Back
 ZM-MFC2 - Box Back

The ZM-MFC2 not only allows fan controlling features, it also offers temperature monitoring and real-time power usage.  It controls up to four fans - three standard 3-pin fans and one 4-pin PWM fan.  The fan controller can spin fans anywhere from 60rpm to 5940rpm according to the packaging.  The only thing wrong with this claim is that many fans do not spin much over 3000rpm, and the fan controller cannot run them as fast as it claims.  In reality it can monitor fans up to 5940rpm, not control them.  12v is wide open and if you're fan is rated at 1600rpm at 12v, you're not going to get any more out of it.

In The Box:

The ZM-MFC2 controller comes in a two-part package.  The wide open part of the package contains the fan controller itself, and the white box houses the accessories for powering the fans, monitoring temperatures, and monitoring power usage.

 Packaged Up
 Packaged Up

 Bundled Goodies
 Bundled Goodies

 

The bundle of goodies includes screws, four thin temperature probes, adhesive tape for securing the temperature probes, extension wires for the fans, a back USB I/O bracket with a wire the connects to the back of the fan controller for watt usage monitoring, and a black pass-through power adapter that measures the system watt usage.  All of this is required for full functionality of the fan controller.